The CBI conducted raids on 15 November at the Bengaluru-based office of Amnesty International, an organisation purportedly working for human rights internationally. The Amnesty International Group is accused of obtaining foreign funding in violation of the rules.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had investigated Amnesty last year. The ED investigated the human rights organisation for allegations of violation of foreign donations regulations. At that point, the allegation against the NGO was the violation of foreign direct investment (FDI) norms linked to an earlier case of revocation of FCRA licence of the NGO by the Union Home Ministry in 2010, the central search agency had said. The agency had alleged the non-profit set up a floating commercial entity in the name of Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, which received Rs 36 crore in foreign funds.
“Over the past year, a pattern of harassment has emerged every time Amnesty India stands up and speaks out against human rights violations in India,” Amnesty said in a statement.
“Amnesty India stands in full compliance with Indian and international law. Our work in India, as elsewhere, is to uphold and fight for universal human rights. These are the same values that are enshrined in the Indian Constitution and flow from a long and rich Indian tradition of pluralism, tolerance, and dissent,” it said.
The search operations were still on at the time of the drafting of this report. The CBI operation is being seen as part of the Narendra Modi government’s efforts to check the parallel government the NGO brigade ran under the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA dispensation. In 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs had put the New York-based Ford Foundation on a watchlist and suspended environmental campaigner Greenpeace’s licence under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The government, of course, is yet to figure out how to stop the NGOs from their indirect participation in politics by supplying parties that are willing to do their bidding with election candidates and campaign resources.
Intelligence agencies believe the NGOs are fronts of certain international powers that want to keep emerging economies from emerging strong enough to displace them from global markets. Their constant rabble-rousing to stop development projects, nuclear reactors, genetically modified crops, etc in the name of human rights are strong indicators, said an IB source.
Amnesty has been accused of ideological bias against Congo, China, Vietnam and Russia who have criticised the NGO for what they assert is one-sided reporting or a failure to treat threats to security as a mitigating factor. However, activists cannot disturb China as much as they wish to due to its authoritarian regime while Vladimir Putin’s Russia is known for strongarm tactics, too. They are allowed all activities in countries like Brazil and India, of which Brazil is no longer considered a strong economy.